Why We Invested in Rwazi, an Intelligence Platform Unlocking Consumer Data in Emerging Markets
Deb Goldstein & Jen Richard
March 23, 2023
We are excited to announce that Rwazi has raised $4M in seed funding lead by Bonfire Ventures, with participation from Newfund, Alumni Ventures, Techstars. Read more about Rwazi and their latest fundraise in TechCrunch.
During our due diligence process, each team member who spoke with founders Joseph Rutakangwa and Eric Sewankambo came back inspired by their vision of what access to data in emerging markets could be. The founders started Rwazi out of Mauritius, Africa and moved to Los Angeles in 2022 to join the Techstars LA accelerator and take the business to the next level. The founders have shown an extreme amount of grit, sacrifice and perseverance to get the business to where it is today. We are so lucky to back them.
Jen Richard, an investor on the Bonfire team, initially met Eric shortly after he and Joseph started the Techstars program. Having some experience with emerging markets herself, she was immediately impressed by their ambitious plans and innovative approach to data collection and analysis. In the four months after this initial meeting Jen was shocked to find out that they’d already tripled their business. This validated not only their abilities as founders, but also the global need for the information they are providing.
What does Rwazi do?
Rwazi is a market intelligence platform for local and multinational consumer goods companies seeking to gain a competitive edge in developing markets. Their platform provides real-time, actionable data on who is buying what, for how much, from where, when, and why. Rwazi's proprietary data analytics software provides a deep understanding of consumer behavior and preferences, empowering businesses to make informed decisions that drive revenue and expansion.
How does it work?
Rwazi's data collection process is powered by a network of over 50,000 trusted "mappers" across Africa, South Asia, and South America. These local customers have undergone extensive vetting and training, and are equipped with the tools needed to collect and submit accurate data. By leveraging this crowd-sourced network, Rwazi ensures the quality and authenticity of the data they collect, giving businesses the insights they need to make informed decisions. Using a mobile/web app, these mappers can earn money for each verified submission they provide, creating a mutually beneficial relationship that benefits both the mappers and the businesses they serve.
Who are their customers and what did they have to say about their experience with Rwazi so far?
Their customers are senior execs at fortune 500 companies looking for customer sentiment and insights in order to expand to developing markets and/or gather data on existing product performance in developing markets. Notable customers include industry giants such as P&G, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder and Mastercard.
When asked about her experience with Rwazi so far, one notable COO said,
“Rwazi has been instrumental in arming our sales and marketing teams with data that was extremely difficult to collect previously. Before Rwazi, we were hiring and training internal teams to collect data which wasn't nearly as expansive or robust. Rwazi sped up our processes (sales, marketing, PD) and allowed us to truly transition into a data-driven company. I also really enjoy working with Eric & Joseph and feel they bring a fresh perspective to the data and provide great recommendations.”
What is something that really stood out about the founders during our due diligence?
Joseph and Eric understood the importance of laying a strong foundation for their future sales team and took the time to thoroughly understand the process themselves. They recognized that in order to close deals efficiently, they needed to slow down and really focus on the problem they were solving and the story they were telling. Through their participation in Techstars, they fine-tuned their sales process and created a comprehensive sales playbook. As a result of their efforts, they were able to reduce their average number of meetings to close a deal from 8 down to just 3, demonstrating their dedication to efficiency and success.